icm final: gists, etc.


the screen shot below doesn’t look like much, but it’s progress!

i’ve figured out how to get an off-canvas image to canvas by clicking on it.

i’ve also figured out how to create a new line of text when the text string length exceeds the width of the canvas.

still lots to do, like figuring out:

  • how to only render text to canvas one time—currently, you can select text as many times as you want and the new text just appears on top of the old
  • how to get text spacing right—will there only be a top line and/or a bottom line? a way to adjust text size?
  • styling the photos in a grid under the canvas and incorporating captions

Screen Shot 2015-11-29 at 7.16.37 PM

i haven’t been great at documenting my progress on this project, but here’s the mini update:

    • i put together github gists of some of the code i’m testing out. you can check them out here.
    • i tried to break down the road blocks into more manageable pieces
    • i asked for help with this stuff:

pcomp final: designing the box

we have another round of user testing in a week, so we spent some time today thinking about the shape of the device. we decided that the spritzers should be angled (instead of lying completely flat or standing completely vertically) to dispense the scent to the user’s nose most effectively.

to start, i just cut up an old box and arranged the spritzers inside. a diagonal piece of cardboard was sufficient to elevate them.

button layout?
button layout?
side view
side view

ultimately, the box i started with needed to be larger, with more structural support and a hinged lid. the spritzers needed more height, so diagonal supports with a steeper angle. the junk shelf had everything i needed. this is where i left things:

final prototype envelope

pcomp final: tanpura teacher visual study

what remains:

  1. hack another air freshener since our design uses two scents
  2. find spritzer bottles that work with the air fresheners and let us use our own scents
  3. design box
  4. design touch interface and adjust capacitive touch sensor tolerance to work with wood
  5. determine whether we can run MAX MSP and a microphone off of arduino yun or whether we’ll need to keep a laptop in our system

i collected some images to help with our discussion of the interface design. the first set shows existing interfaces of electronic and analog tanpura teachers.

the electronic interface lacks any reference to the gorgeous wooden instrument it imitates. we’re interested in bringing back some of the warmth of the original instrument in our final design.

existing interfaces
existing interfaces
touch buttons with wood panels
touch buttons with wood panels


art strategies final, pt. II

my friend showed me a very neat project that new york magazine just produced about one block in bed-stuy. it features interviews, video, infographics, and lots of links. i’m thinking about contacting the producers to find out about their budget and timeline, and i’ll write more about what i think of the piece soon.

i also:

  • went to the creative time summit at boys and girls high school in bed-stuy
  • ran my coffee shop idea by sharon lee de la cruz, an itp resident, artist, and anti-gentrification activist
  • looked up printing pricing (1 week turnaround)pricing for printing big
  • researched a coffee shop, sista’s place, that’s been in the neighborhood for a long time
  • met daniel

so i’m wondering what it looks like to use art to support work that’s already happening. sharon asked me an important question that i couldn’t answer, which was:

“what are you trying to say with this project?”

icm final: user testing

i’m making a twitter remix meme generator. it pairs a user’s twitter timeline with a set of archival images. you pick the tweet you want from the timeline, choose the archival image you want, drag the tweet onto the image, save, and share. sounds simple, but proving difficult-ish to code.

i’m interested in the medium of the meme. but i’m more interested in what can happen when we drag the present back to the past, what new things emerge when we ground our constantly updating now in history, when we acknowledge that we do in fact have and live in and are responsible for histories we did not choose. this is a political project. governments and institutions have twitter feeds where they perform the best versions of themselves. meanwhile, history has archival footage of how their actions have lined up with their stated values over time. i was intentional about pairing the twitter timeline (the israeli defense force) and archival images (palestinian refugees from 1948) i did, and the user can’t change them—can only work within them. that’s a thing about history.

user testing was today. i need better “way-finding” (for lack of a better word) on the page. people didn’t know whether they were supposed to pick a twitter user or hashtag they wanted, they couldn’t find the slider to scroll through archival images, they didn’t know they were supposed to drag tweets, etc. lots to figure out still, and i’m looking forward to getting it working.

work in progress
work in progress

pcomp final: hacking the air freshener

we went back and forth for a long time about which scent-dispensing mechanism to use. initially, the motorized one seemed bulky and overly complicated for what we needed. the motor would rotate CCW to lower the dispensing arm and then CW to raise it back up and stop dispensing. we didn’t think we’d be able to preserve that functionality when we ran it off the arduino. but we ultimately did decide to go with the motorized one because

  1. gears are cool, and
  2. it was actually going to be simpler to hack the hardware in this one than to build a fan to dispense the car air freshener, build a mechanism to open and close its vent, connect the whole thing to the arduino, etc.

once we decided on the motorized air freshener, we had to figure out how to bypass the button activation on the air freshener and control it with the arduino instead. dhruv writes about the process here.

measuring +/- voltage across the button
measuring +/- voltage across the button
connecting the motor to the breadboard
connecting to the motor’s power and ground
connected to breadboard
connected to breadboard
connected to breadboard, detail
connected to breadboard and arduino
motor powered by arduino

pcomp final: system and interaction diagrams

dhruv put together this system diagram to show our device’s inputs and outputs. what inputs go to the arduino and what outputs does it return? what inputs go to our music software and what do those inputs trigger?

system diagram
system diagram

i created this user interaction flow diagram to help us design for all possible user scenarios.

user interaction flow diagram
user interaction flow diagram

from the user diagram, we realized that there are more scenarios than we’d previously thought and that we need to get more specific about how many scents we’re using and when each one is triggered. the matrix below is a visual representation of all four scenarios:

possible user scenarios
possible user scenarios
  1. user starts out singing the wrong note and eventually finds the right note *this is the ideal scenario and the one we’d designed for already
  2. user sings the wrong note through the whole interaction
  3. user sings the right note through the whole interaction
  4. user starts out singing the right note but eventually changes to the wrong note.

how does the scent-dispensing mechanism behave in each of these situations?

read background on this project + dhruv and viniyata’s user testing

pcomp final: researching smell dispensers

i went to kmart to research smell dispensers. they generally fell into these categories:

  • heat disperses the scent of oil or wax
  • spritzer dispenses scented spray
  • a fan disperses the smell of scented goo that sits in a permeable pouch
kmart's expansive scent section
kmart’s expansive scent section

i went with a motion-sensing spritzing dispenser and a dispersal mechanism that works with a fan. these two give us more control over when we start and stop dispersing smells; with a candle or another heat-based mechanism, dispersal is slow and hard to contain.

scent dispenser innards
motion-sensing spritzer
scent dispensed by fan
scent dispensed by fan

when i got back to the floor, i took apart the motion-sensing spritzer. the construction is surprisingly simple and elegant: a motion sensor or button activates a battery-powered DC motor, which turns a series of gears, which pull an arm into contact with the scented stuff and ~*spritz*~

scent dispenser mechanism

read background on this project + dhruv and viniyata’s user testing

pcomp final: group dynamics

well. an unexpected part of my pcomp final experience has been learning about group dynamics. melanie, zoe, and i have decided not to work together. our collaboration was frustrating, but we’re all grown-ups and aren’t taking the group incompatibility personally; we’re still buds and have a lot of respect for each other’s work. no, seriously!

i’m grateful to be working with dhruv and viniyata on a thing that’s out of my comfort zone in a bunch of ways—think scent, music, motors, and indian classical music. so far, way fun. group chemistry makes all the difference.

art strategies final


  • taking exact measurements (approx. 5-6′ high by 7′ long)
  • printing a large image on newsprint
  • wood glue
  • potential legal issues


  • design
  • hosting (can this be an out-of-the-box wordpress or tumblr site?)
  • twitter/insta integration


  • finding people (feels like it would be important to share info about the project and maybe wireframes of website?)
  • scheduling
  • recording audio and video
  • editing audio and video

bill of materials

  • glue
  • water
  • mop (what kind?)
  • bucket
  • newsprint
  • printing
  • web hosting

installation and documentation